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The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)

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The story of the final years of the respected World War II German general, Erwin Rommel.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), Desmond Young (biography) (as Brigadier Desmond Young M.C.)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Mason ... Field Marshal Erwin Johannes Rommel
Cedric Hardwicke ... Dr. Karl Strolin
Jessica Tandy ... Frau Lucie Marie Rommel
Luther Adler ... Adolf Hitler
Everett Sloane ... Gen. Wilhelm Burgdorf
Leo G. Carroll ... Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt
George Macready ... Gen. Fritz Bayerlein
Richard Boone ... Capt. Hermann Aldinger
Eduard Franz ... Col. Klaus von Stauffenberg
Desmond Young Desmond Young ... Lt. Col. Desmond Young
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Storyline

This biopic follows Rommel's career after the Afrika Korps, including his work on the defenses of Fortress Europe as well as his part in the assassination attempt on Hitler, and his subsequent suicide. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The vast African desert is aflame with the startling story the world has only guessed at ... never known until now ! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Desert Fox See more »

Filming Locations:

Yuma, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several film reference books credit Dan O'Herlihy with playing the officer who leads the raid in the opening pre-credits sequence, but he does not appear in the film. The mistake is understandable since the actor playing the officer does bear a resemblance to O'Herlihy. See more »

Goofs

In a clip, a long line of surrendered German soldiers is described as being the remnants of the Afrika Korps. The soldiers are wearing Wehrmacht uniforms used in Europe and not the distinctive Afrika Korps uniform. See more »

Quotes

Field Marshal Erwin Johannes Rommel: [Hitler just sent an order not to retreat from El Alamein] It's an order, Bayerlein, a military order from General Headquarters. A clear, straight, stupid, criminal military order, from General Headquarters.
Gen. Fritz Bayerlein: And what are you going to do, double the insanity by obeying it? We've got the best soldiers in the German Army here. They may be just hanging on now, but they're still a force, they're still fighting. If we take them out now, they can fight again tomorrow. But this! This is sheer madness! ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Anchors Aweigh
(uncredited)
Music by Charles A. Zimmerman
Heard during the scenes of D-Day and the ensuing battles
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Rommel Story
28 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Though The Desert Fox is good as far as it goes and James Mason is perfectly cast as Erwin Rommel, one would hope that a fuller biographical study might be done on the screen.

Erwin Rommel was one of a group of like minded military leaders in various countries who after World War I, rose to the top of their country's military establishment because they saw the value of the tank in any future war. Some of those people would be Charles DeGaulle in France, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton in America, Marshal Tukachevksy in the Soviet Union and Rommel in Germany.

In 1942 Hitler as he was constantly doing sent Rommel in to bail out the Italians who up to that point had been running the desert campaign in North Africa. With less men and supplies, his tactical ability bedeviled the Allied command until The Second Battle of El Alamein.

The film starts with Rommel as desert warfare genius and then when he does become ill and is invalided out of North Africa, the Allies regain the initiative and beat his famed Afrika Korps. Rommel is then sent to Western Europe to supervise the defenses on the Atlantic.

There comes a point when Rommel does realize that his Fuehrer is destroying his country and becomes involved in the plot to kill him and overthrow the government. That is what most of the film deals with.

James Mason is a stalwart Rommel a perfect conception of the man they called The Desert Fox. In this mostly male film, Jessica Tandy has little to do but be loyal and supportive as Frau Rommel.

Luther Adler who among other parts he played in his long distinguished career was David Ben-Gurion. He goes the whole opposite way in his portrayal of a ranting and malevolent Adolph Hitler. How a man who took his Jewish heritage as seriously as Luther Adler did, prepare for the role of Hitler is beyond my scope. But then again, there were few actors as good as he.

Though Mason does a fine job given what limited material he had to work from, archives have been opened and we know a whole lot more about Erwin Rommel. Time for another biographical study.


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